A herbalist provides medical care in the community they live in by using herbs and other methods based on the cultures and beliefs of their people. After a lifetime of dedication to working with medicinal plants, he or she must be seen to be competent, versatile, experienced and trusted. Many people in Uganda are beginning to adopted new lifestyles and modern ways of living, often including modern medical methods. Whether it’s a conscious or unconscious shift, this poses a big threat to the existence of the use of herbal medicine and indigenous knowledge. Regardless of the usual debate between western medicine and indigenous medicine, some individuals have continuously chosen herbal medicine.
Change is good because it plays a significant role in development and progress, but preservation is a key component that allows us to retain and remember about cultural norms and practices from the past that often define us in a unique way and also contribute to ensuring that our future is built on a foundation of our culture.
This story focuses on Wasswa Denis, a 34-year old local herbalist and entertainer, a resident of Kireku area in Bweyogerere, a suburb of Kampala. He is a father with one wife and six children, and he dedicates his entire life time to working with local herbs and also to offering medical treatment to his family and other community members.